The book Range by David Epstein is a convincing plea to educate yourself as broadly as you can, and a warning for too much specialisation. Deepening your professional knowledge often comes down to narrowing your outlook, with tunnel vision as the dubious final station. Quantum leaps in innovation have often come about through cross-pollination of disciplines. The most creative minds take the roads less travelled, where their hyper-specialised intellectual peers would never wander.
I am not a genius at anything, but I do consider myself a solid generalist. I can sing, play the piano, and I have mastered some cello and guitar. I make passable photographs and I am not a bad cook. Except for my musical pursuits there is no hobby I have invested as much of my free time in as dramatic writing, especially if you count the literature classes during my English degree as laying the groundwork. I have written three plays that brought me neither fame nor fortune, but a lot of pleasure. And they have given me an unexpected insight into the trade from which I do make a comfortable living.Continue reading “Programming and playwriting”